Written by: Debra Crosby
For years, I used to say that I had no desire to go to Mardi Gras in New Orleans UNLESS I could ride on a float and throw beads. I never dreamed that one day I’d be able to do just that. I always assumed the Krewes were ancient, exclusive, and peopled by folks whose families had been in those Krewes for generations.
Then, one day, I saw a Facebook post by an old friend, Suzanne Ferguson, and it included photos of her and her daughter Katie wearing fun costumes, having a ball at Mardi Gras in New Orleans! I asked her if she was in a Krewe, and she said yes! I said, “I want to do that!” Turns out, the Krewe was the Mystic Krewe of Nyx, and my friend was a charter member.
She helped me, guiding me through the membership process, and before I knew it, I was a Nyx Sister! I had no idea of what I was in for.
My Mardi Gras in New Orleans Experience as a Nyx Sister
From the start, I was warmly welcomed into the Sisterhood of Nyx. My first ride was in February of 2017, so I started getting ready months ahead of time. We got together and decorated purses (I am NOT an artistic person, so this was a challenge for me!), and I actually managed to come up with 20 purses that I’d not be ashamed to toss to strangers in a crowd. I had paid my dues, ordered my throw package, and I was ready to roll!
I had no idea what the parade would be like. I figured that if it wasn’t fun, I’d just do it once and bail out. But oh, my, what fun I had! Honestly, the whole thing was a blur, from the preparade party to the end of the parade.
I remember float loading, being amazed by how organized things were (my stuff was on the right place, in my spot, with my name on it!), then I remember the huge party, with all of those laughing, friendly, fun-loving woman in bright costumes, then I remember going to the float to roll in the parade.
The weather was perfect that year for Mardi Gras in New Orleans, and the crowds were thick and excited. The parade went by so quickly that I was shocked when we stopped! Time does indeed fly when you’re having fun, and I had a blast.
So, of course, I signed up again for the 2018 season. However, something unexpected happened to me in July of 2017 – I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer and was told I’d have to have chemo, surgery, and radiation, a course of treatment that would last over a year. Sigh. In spite of all that, my overwhelming desire was to be sure that I felt good enough to ride with my Nyx Sisters. It was a reward I felt I deserved! I worked hard to make that happen.
So I did what I had to do, and specifically made sure to schedule my radiation treatments to NOT start until after my Mardi Gras parade ride. My doctors were very supportive, and I was therefore able to ride in the 2018 parade.
Suzanne and I went on the Pray for Favor ride, and had a great time. I even got up at lunch and danced. No more sitting on the sidelines for me!
The Sisterhood of Strength
The next day, at the preparade party, I was moved to tears when I was presented with a gorgeous purse, made by my sister Shari Tallulah Brown, in support of my breast cancer journey. These are the kind of women who make up this Krewe. Warm, giving, welcoming, fun-loving. Full of life. Just what I needed after a tough 6 months. I’d never met Shari, but she knew about me. She now has an everlasting friend in me. I will always have her back.
Marie Laveau didn’t exactly take us or our prayers seriously, because the weather took a turn for the worse late In the afternoon. We soldiered on. Even though it was cold and wet (and windy!), the spirits of the Nyx Sisters never flagged. I was personally glad to be experiencing ANYTHING, so glad to be there. The crowds inspired me, because in spite of the inclement weather, they were lively and happy. They weren’t going to let some bad weather get them down. The Krewe of Nyx and its fans fed of one another’s excitement and enthusiasm, and we rocked that night!
My motto is now Carpe Diem. I’m seizing every moment, every experience, every chance to live life to the fullest. The Nyx experience is such a big part of that.
Don’t let life get you down. Embrace it. Take the opportunities that come your way. You never know what’s around the corner.
I seize every moment. I embrace my sisters. Thank you, Nyx, for standing with me.
Debra Crosby is a three year Krewe of Nyx member………..and a cancer survivor!